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Nellis Briefs Community Leaders

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- Nellis is an integral part of the Southern Nevada community, and the mission of Nellis will continue to grow over the next several years.

Because of this impending growth, Nellis’ flying operations need to continue to be protected from development surrounding and encroaching upon Nellis, while at the same time maintaining the friendly relationship Nellis shares with its community partners. 

Those were the main messages from a state of Nellis briefing entitled, “Nellis Flight Path 2006,” Col. Walter Givhan, 99th Air Base Wing commander, presented to the Civilian Military Council of Southern Nevada at its quarterly luncheon March 2.

More than 150 people, including members of the surrounding community, representatives of local, state and national legislatures, and news media attended the luncheon at the Nellis Officers’ Club.

“In this briefing we will present the story of Nellis Air Force Base in the context of what we do and where we are going for the remainder of 2006,” Colonel Givhan said. “It’s important to initiate this type of dialogue on an annual basis to put faces to functions in such a large and thriving community.

“Forums such as the CMC strengthen our community partnership while we execute our mission with your continued support.”

The presentation articulated several main points of Nellis’ many missions, including:

Nellis units fall under the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center, whose mission is to certify equipment, develop tactics, educate and train, tell the Air Force story and be the center of culture for the Combat Air Forces.

The 57th Wing provides integrated training for aircrews through Red Flag and Air Warrior exercises and doctorate-level weapons system instruction through the Weapons School. The USAF Air Demonstration Squadron showcases U.S. airpower to the world. The Predator unmanned aerial vehicle provides intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and attack capabilities over Iraq and Afghanistan, while the crews remain at Nellis.

The 98th Range Wing provides and sustains instrumented and integrated battle space for air combat training and tactics development. The Nevada Test and Training Range is a national asset to military training.

Because of the decisions of the Base Realignment and Closure commission, Nellis is gaining additional missions, personnel and aircraft. Hurricane Katrina accelerated the gain of the 926th Reserve Wing headquarters from New Orleans.

Colonel Givhan explained that as the 99th Air Base Wing commander, he is considered the “mayor” of Nellis. He is responsible for the infrastructure of the base, to include providing communications, contracting, engineering, environmental compliance, law enforcement, medical, security, transportation and support for more than 12,000 personnel.

Colonel Givhan said that Nellis has a major impact on the Southern Nevada economy. Including service contracts of $92.6 million and materials, equipment and supply procurement estimated at $300 million, Nellis’ economic impact last year was approximately $3.9 billion in the community.

Colonel Givhan went on to explain one of Nellis’ main missions is providing support to the Global War on Terrorism. There are approximately 650 Airmen deployed from Nellis, and in February, a Critical Air Transport Team, with members assigned here, transported to the United States two ABC News journalists who were wounded by an improvised explosive device in Iraq.

Colonel Givhan said that the Southern Nevada community works with Nellis and Creech to protect the ability of the Air Force to fly missions over the bases and the ranges.

“We will do this through continued open dialogue and strengthening existing relationships,” he said. “It is vital to our nation’s security to take a proactive approach, working with all parties at all levels.”

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